In honor of his hard work and dedication to the town of Londonderry, the Town Council has decided to pay tribute to one of its most beloved residents.
On May 4, the Town held a dedication ceremony at the Town Forest for Kent Allen, officially renaming it The Kent Allen Forest.
Serving as the caretaker for Londonderry’s cemetery since 1970, Allen took on the role of sexton twelve years ago, doing his best to keep the graves in respectable shape. On top of this, he has also dedicated countless volunteer hours to cleaning up the paths in and around the forest now synonymous with his name. He also constructed benches throughout the area that were made out of maple trees that had fallen in his efforts.
According to Town Manager Kevin Smith, before Allen’s volunteering, you couldn’t even walk through the forest because of all of the brush and poison ivy in the way. Nowadays, it serves as a great location for both education and recreation.
Smith highly praised Allen’s dedication to the forest, noting that his efforts are “truly making [the forest] a wonderful spot.”
The twelve acre forest was originally owned by the Mack Family of Mack’s Apples, but was mostly donated to the town in 1984, with Londonderry eventually purchasing the remainder.
The dedication, which was attended by a number of people from town, including Allen’s wife and three children and countless grandchildren, as well as the Town Councilors, featured the reading of a proclamation that praised of Allen’s work, officially stating that “on behalf of the residents of Londonderry, New Hampshire, our town forest shall be proudly named after Kent Allen and shall hereinafter be known as The Kent Allen Forest, in honor of Mr. Allen’s efforts and dedication to enhancing the forest for all Londonderry residents to enjoy.”
Afterwards, Allen and Curtis Laffin, a representative from the American Chestnut Foundation, worked with a number of local elementary students to plant numerous chestnut trees in the area. Laffin used the opportunity to give the children a history lesson on nut trees, which took up a large portion of Londonderry in the past, so much so that the town was originally named Nutfield until 1722.
To cap off the day, a spot in the forest was dedicated to the Mack Family, as a means of paying tribute to the original owners of the land. A plaque, labeling the spot the Mack Family Overlook, will eventually be erected in this location, informing those who visit the forest about the Mack Family. The final portion of the proclamation will read “This spot within the Kent Allen Forest, which overlooks part of Moose Hill Orchards, stands as a reminder of the Mack Family’s legacy of sound land stewardship and their generosity to the community.”